About 4 months ago I began to integrate meat back into my diet. The decision was made after being a vegetarian and vegan for nearly 10 years of my life. Originally I went vegetarian when I was 15 after reading the book, “Skinny Bitch.” This no-nonsense guide was my anchor throughout much of high school and instilled in me the value of eating "real food" long before people my age started to give a sh*t about their health. Ten years and lot of life experience later, I began to slowly climb my way out of the idea that eating is black and white. Sure, there are still things I’ll never touch (lookin' at you Diet Coke), but as time has gone on I needed to take a step back.
So why did I start eating meat again? I couldn’t think of a reason not to. After struggling with my body image most (all) of my life, I decided that I was officially done with chasing the never-ending goal of being the skinniest version of myself. Instead, I switched my focus to being the strongest me I could be. I swapped my cardio sessions for strength training classes and focused on eating foods that fueled me. I slowly began to integrate meat back into my diet and found myself feeling stronger and more content.
Combined with a plant-packed diet, I have more energy than ever before. I’ve slowly (very slowly) watched my body change from the inside out. Instead of focusing on the negative (how I need to be thinner), I am focused everyday on the positive (how I am getting stronger).
Which leads me to chicken… For years I was terrified to eat chicken. After reading “the China Study” in college and hearing that chicken was actually worse than red meat, I swore off the idea forever. However, when I decided I was going to eat meat again I knew I had to keep an open mind. I had to forget what books had told me and start listening to what my body was telling me.
One of the most exciting things about introducing meat back into my diet has been learning how to season and cook it properly. I seriously feel like a whole new world of possibilities has been opened to me. This week I decided to experiment with some seasonal ingredients I had in my fridge namely: limes, cilantro and chicken breast. I combined these into a marinade and let it sit overnight. The next day, I cooked the chicken and seriously could not get over the flavor!
This cilantro lime chicken is so perfect for summer especially when you combine it with other summer staples like guacamole, fresh greens, ripe tomatoes, etc. You can enjoy the chicken in a soft tortilla like I did, place it over salad, make a chicken sandwich or put it over rice - the possibilities are endless!
EASY CILANTRO LIME CHICKEN
Makes 4 (4 oz. servings)
Cook Time: 20 minutes (30 min. minimum to marinade)
Juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 pound (16 oz.) organic chicken breast
1. Place all of the ingredients into a bowl except for the chicken and mix well. Add the chicken and gently massage the marinade into the chicken. Cover with foil and place in the fridge for 3-4 hours or overnight. Alternatively you can marinade the chicken in a large zip-lock freezer bag if you’re fridge is tight for space.
2. Once the chicken has marinated long enough, remove the chicken from the marinade. Drizzle a large skillet with oil and cook the chicken on medium heat for 10 minutes or so. Flip the chicken breast and lower the heat. Cover the skillet and cook for another 10 minutes or until fully cooked.
3. Once cooked, remove from heat and allow the chicken to cool for 5 minutes in order to preserve the juice.